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View of Alexandria A Turkish Pilot- The Egyptian Fleet—Soldiery-An
Eastern Bazaar-Donkey Boys - Cleopatra's Needle—Its prostration-Its removal-A Palm Grove-Ruins of the ancient City-Pompey's PillarNautical Hieroglyphics-English Seamen—The Cemetery— Tombs-Eastern Lamentation - Surveyor of the Navy—The Dock-yard— Commissioners Vessels on the Stocks—The Navy-Arsenal Artisans Mosque-Matrimonial speculation—Price of labour- A line-of-battle Ship-Naval uniform—The Hospital - Consular Residences — The Slave Market-Fish-Dromedaries-Remarks on their Natural History.
JAN. 13th. We made the land this evening, but from its being so low, and the coast rising only a few feet above the level of the water, we were unable to distinguish it at any great distance. Before night-fall we obtained a very indistinct view of Alexandria, resembling the broken outline of an old fortress, and the Arab's Tower that of a low hummock. The harbour not being safe to enter at night, we lay “off and on” till morning, when we found ourselves abreast of the tower, a plain, round, dark-looking building, not unlike an armless windmill, or those towers along the Spanish shore, as
you enter the Straits of Gibraltar. This is the only object for miles along the coast, and serves as a most valuable guide to mariners approaching the shores of Egypt, which are one continued series of low undulations of sand, than which nothing can appear more dreary, bleak and barren, devoid as they are of a single living thing to break the monotony, or enliven the scene.
14th. On nearing the shore, the water becomes shallow and beautifully clear, vieing with the tint of the tourquoise, enabling us to distinguish objects on the bottom at a considerable depth, and having numbers of large Medusæ of every possible hue floating through it.
At length the city and harbour began to rise up, as if emerging from the sea, and the number of tall masts told of our proximity to a large fleet. We shortly afterwards picked up a pilot, blind of one eye, (as were all the crew, except an old man who had lost both.) He very deliberately squatted himself, cross-legged, upon
and commenced smoking his long pipe, which he scarcely ever removed from his lips till we anchored. He was dressed in the Turkish costume, which is much more convenient than the long loose dress of the Egyptians for those engaged in any active occupation. He seemed to understand his business very well, and was the first of his profession we had met whose first inquiry was not after the rum bottle. The entrance is rather intricate here, having several shoals and sunken
rocks. We passed Marrabutt island—a miserable sand-stone rock, on which the present viceroy has erected a considerable battery. A light on this island would be of immense value, and enable vessels to enter during the night.
Except the row of houses along the water's edge little or nothing of the town is seen from the harbour. There are a number of windmills now building along the shores to the right, and a view is had of the tall slender shaft of Pompey's pillar rising behind them, and forming a pleasing object even at this distance.
There are no public buildings such as you would expect even in the smallest European cities. A line of low wharfs at the water's edge : the minarets of a couple of mosques, and the hareem of Ibrahim Basha, which stands detached on a narrow neck of land to the left of the harbour, are all you see of the grandeur of the principal seaport of the east, and the second city in Egypt. The hareem is a large square building without any
architectural beauties, but easily distinguished by its isolated position, white walls, red-tiled roof, and green window-blinds-here, at least, deserving the appellation of jealousies.
The Egyptian fleet was moored at the entrance of the harbour, and in number and appearance far surpassed what we had heard of it. They are a magnificent set of vessels, all in commission—in the most perfect order ; the majority of them two deckers, but
THE EGYPTIAN FLEET.
mounting many more guns than ours, of a similar class ; with round sterns, and all the other modern improvements in naval architecture. The yacht of the Basha is a most beautiful craft, magnificently fitted
up, and fully equal to any of the Cowes squadron. On bringing up we were visited by a health officer, and seeing the yellow flag flying from some Swedish men-of-war, were rather frightened lest we should be again in quarantine, but we were admitted sans ceremonie, and immediately after the Egyptian admiral sent his boat, with two officers, to know if he could be of any service to us. They were exceedingly polite, and spoke very tolerable French. They use more men in their boats than is usual in vessels of war, and direct every thing by the boatswain's whistle, even to the stroke of the oars. Altogether the harbour of Alexandria presented a picture the most imposing ; and the stir and bustle, both warlike and commercial-one we could have had no idea of. The flags of the different nations of Europe were here displayed beside the red banner of Mohammad Alee, to which he has added a star within the crescent. Were this port to be taken as an index of the flourishing state of the country, great indeed would be its wealth.
After dinner we landed at one of the wharfs near the Custom-house, and met a company of the troops, who all looked abominably dirty, and walked like so many turkeys in long grass. Their dress, which is of white cotton, may be the reason they appeared
so very filthy, but otherwise they were all very comfortably clad. This dress consists of a light jacket; wide bagged trowsers, fitting tightly to the leg from the knee down to the ancle, and buttoned down the side like gaiters; red shoes and garters, a striped cotton sash round the waist, and a small red cap, with a blue tassel, buff belts, and bright Birmingham firelocks. Each party was preceded by a set of drums and fifes. As we walked along the wharfs we met several groups of both sailors and soldiers off duty, and notwithstanding all that is said of their hardships, and the cruelty of dragging them from their homes and friends, they seemed exceedingly happy, generally walking hand in hand, or playing with each other. They were all young,
and mostly slight-made active men.
Our entrè into the city of the Ptolomies was any thing but pleasing. Outside the gate we had to pass through a village of miserable mud huts, only equalled in filth and squalidness by the wretched-looking set of old people, half-clad women, and wholly naked children, squatted around themquite an African wigwam. These extend all along the walls of the town on the land side, and are the abodes of the wives and families of the troops and sailors of Mohammad Alee.
We found a guard of soldiers at each of the gates. The streets are much wider than those of Algiers, and filthy in the extreme. The numerous bazaars through which we passed presented a scene